Properly Formatting Articles for SEO- Top 5 Factors
Content is definitely a crucial component of on-page search engine optimization. There has been a major shift toward content marketing and the demand for high quality articles has increased in recent years. Search engine algorithms do a much better job determining the quality of your content now than they did 10 years ago. Domain names, links, keywords, and relevancy were the predominant factors “back in the day” but times have changed and it’s harder to cut corners.
Search engines consider hundreds (if not thousands) of variables as to how and why websites rank and much of this information will remain unknown. Regardless, Google has always maintained a degree of transparency when rolling out updates and the most successful SEO firms have always been adaptable.
When it comes to writing articles, search engines make sure the work isn’t plagiarized (duplicate content), but more importantly, they have developed methods to let the users do some work for them. User-feedback is data compiled from interaction between website visitors and your site. Not only do search engines consider article length, relevancy, authority, and keyword density, they can also determine the quality of an article by the amount of time the average user spends on the page. The number of unique visitors to your site, their bounce rate (percent who land on one page and leave quickly), and how long the visitors spend on your article or website, all contribute to user-feedback.
You’re probably overwhelmed by this point. To simplify matters, quality content that is engaging to your audience is a major key to timeless SEO. With that being said, search engines will still take all the help they can get to index your articles properly and crawl your site with ease.
1. Meta Titles and Descriptions
Meta titles and descriptions set the stage for what you’ll be writing about. They are important for both the search engine and the user by stating what you are writing about. These two factors along with the domain name and link structure are the top of the funnel serve as the foundation for relevant content. They should be keyword driven to an extent but most importantly, they should be detailed, the proper length, and relevant. You can read more about meta titles here: LINK
Headers are crucial when it comes to breaking up content and helping users and search engines determine the content in an article. Headers should be relevant to the article, and the paragraphs that follow them. Headers help search engines by determining content but also help the user skim through and find the information they need. Engaging headers that are relevant to the article and flow properly are extremely important to format. Headers are usually broken down by H1, H2, H3, etc. You might have one H1 title header, 3 H2 headers, and 9 H3 headers in a 1500 word article. These can help list relevant details and contribute to the user experience while simultaneously helping search engines crawl your site.
The body of your article should be a decent read, informative, and relevant. Don’t jam your writing with tons of keywords. Your audience wants answers and information they can relate to. Speak to your target audience and trust that the search engines will be satisfied if your audience likes the material. User-feedback is crucial for filtering out dated, spammy articles and helping search engines toward their ultimate goal- the best answer for any search. Articles should be 800-1500 words in length and detailed. The internet is jammed with content and chances are, you’re writing about something that has been written about before. The only way to stand out is by providing more in depth content that is both unique and informative.
Pictures are important for the reader and indirectly, the search engine. Search engines can’t really “read” pictures but they can index photos if they have relevant “alt tag.” Always tag your photos and incorporate pictures into your article. Pictures also help readers by keeping them engaged and making them less intimidated by piles of content. This improved user-feedback means better SEO.
5. Internal Links
Internal links are also an important aspect of SEO formatting. Each page on your website is static or “isolated.” Linking to other relevant articles on your website and sometimes linking to high quality articles from other websites is viewed fondly by search engines. Willingness to link to helpful tools or websites expresses “link juice vulnerability” (I made that term up and will explain when we discuss backlinks). Regardless, search engines understand the importance of adding value to articles.